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Wrench - Monday Musing, January 31, 2022

Dear Church,

Wrench. The expression, “Throw a wrench into the works,” is defined as causing problems that prevent something from happening in the way that it was planned. There’s nothing like a blizzard to throw a wrench in the works! Yesterday’s cancellation of Sunday worship has me thinking of this familiar expression. Worship was planned and ready to go, all that was needed was the implementation. Mother Nature had other plans.

Interestingly, the origin of the expression is said to refer to the Luddites – a secret oath-based organization of English textile workers in the 1800s. This radical group destroyed weaving machines as a form of protest. They were scared that if machines could take over their jobs then they would become obsolete. They protested against manufacturers who used machines in what they called “a fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labor practices. They were known to throw wrenches into the machines in order to damage them. While it is a Christian’s duty in civic affairs to hold powers to account for injustices, it is not recommended that the methods include breaking things!

Yesterday’s blizzard represented a mere inconvenience in our inability to gather for worship (thankfully, no wrenches were actually thrown, although a tree did fall on my car, breaking the windshield!). So, the question for us is: What throws a wrench into our faith journey? One can argue that there are multiple wrenches that have a negative impact on our faith – COVID-19, declining health, inability to drive, depression, motivation, and personal grudges, to name a few. The words of Richard Leonard come to mind: “If you feel distant from God – guess who’s moved?”

We live in New England; changing plans because of the weather is nothing new. If we can easily accept that bad weather will occasionally upend our plans, why do we walk away from our faith when wrenches get thrown on our spiritual paths? Admit it, living a life as a Christian requires work. Jesus teaches us things that aren’t easy: “to love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” … “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” … “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

People of faith know that there can be obstacles along our spiritual journeys. Some obstacles cannot be avoided, but they can be overcome by taking steps to remove those things that stand between us and God. So let us place one foot in front of the other and stay connected to God by reading scripture, praying, participating in a community of faith, and attending worship – that is, when a blizzard doesn’t throw a wrench into our plans. See you in church!




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